Posted by: GeekHiker | February 14, 2008

Different Paths

(Although I should pick up the idea from JaG’s blog today, this one just sorta came to the fore…)

Despite yesterday’s post (which was half tongue-in-cheek anyway), I think this was one of the better Valentine’s Day’s I’ve had in quite some time.

And, yes, I say that being single.

Why? Simply put: I didn’t feel anything. No bitterness, or anger, or jealousy. Okay, maybe a mild bit of irritation at the overblown marketing of it all but, hey, that’s kind of how all the holidays are these days.

All in all, it was a pretty ordinary day.

(Okay, total confession: I did feel it at one point, when a very young, very green salesman from a phone provider kept wishing me “Happy Valentine’s Day!” over and over. Seriously, dude, wishing me that over and over wasn’t helping you…)

So why were those kind of feelings more prevalent in the past? To be honest, I blame my Parents, but not even remotely in the way you might think.

See, the Parentage met in college: he was 24, she 22. For their first date, he took her flying (back when being a private pilot was still affordable for a college student). She was terrified, but Dad’s a thorough kind of guy, and his extensive pre-flight check of the plane reassured her.

It’s a good bet that’s when she fell for him.

They were married in ’69, and have been married ever since. They’ve had their ups and downs, as all relationships do, but stuck with it and, so far as I can tell, are still very much in love.

As a kid, especially in high school, I found this made me something of an outsider. While everyone else would exchange stories of their parents’ particularly tumultuous divorces, when the conversation would come around to me I would be forced to mumble “yeah, my Parents are still together”. People looked at me like I was weird.

Oh, sure, I know better now, but you know how it is as a teenager: your whole existence is about fitting in.

As I got older and stayed single, particularly in my late twenties, I found I had the oddest feeling: I was a bit jealous of them, being all lucky-in-love as they were. It persisted for years, as I realized that the things my Dad was doing at my age (marriage, house, stable career, kid) I hadn’t even come close to accomplishing.

When you think about it, it makes a helluva lot of sense: I grew up knowing my Parents had met and married young, and so naturally expected that my life would follow the same general course. With that having not happened, I naturally felt that something had gone awry in my own life, and was jealous of them and their (grass-is-always-greener) bliss.

But it wasn’t just them. It was all compounded, of course, by my cousins and peers starting to follow that same course the Parental’s had. Not only was I not following in my Parent’s footsteps, everyone else I knew seemed to be. Talk about feeling like a jealous outsider!

Maybe it’s just a matter of getting older or wiser or whatever, but it seems that I’ve reached a point where my mind has more-or-less accepted that my life isn’t going to follow that path (it would be hard for me to wake up tomorrow, married with my own 10-year-old kid anyway) and that that’s okay.

It isn’t to say that I wouldn’t like someone to have celebrated the day with. I am, most days, a romantic (actually, a bit less so on Valentine’s, I think because I don’t like marketers telling me I have to be romantic on a particular day).

But my life is following a different path, one that I wasn’t expecting because it wasn’t what I grew up with. And my mind is finally starting to be okay with that. Maybe I’ll join their crowd somewhere down the line. Maybe not. Who can say for sure?

I won’t pretend to celebrate the day (awfully difficult to do when one is single), but I will dedicate it to The Parentage, who were lucky enough to find love so young, and luckier still to have it last.



  1. Older and wiser you are.

    (Heh. I sound like Yoda.)

  2. How lucky we are to have our parent’s example as a role model for love.

  3. Getting together later in life is becoming the norm these days. The Wife and I didn’t get hitched until we were 34.

    The older generation may have different expectations than we did. My Mom has been married twice (my Dad died 25 years ago) and both marriages were/are stable and loving. I think she got remarried just to have a companion.

    Now we worry about careers and stuff before we think about a companion and kids.

  4. I hear you dear, I really do. My parents met after they had each been married once (my mom at 18, dad at 24) and were married shortly after, my mom being 23, my dad 30. My sister met her husband in high school, dated for 8 years and got married. They were both 23. Once I passed that point, despite my health deficiencies, I knew there was no way I was going to go down that path. It made me mad. I kind of wanted it all I guess. But, now even though I’m just dating, I still find myself wondering what it would have been like to marry young. With all my friends that have now been married and divorced, I thank someone above everyday that I didn’t do it. 🙂

  5. Beautiful tale. I married my hubs at 23 (met him at 21) and so far so good. I hope one day McK will speak of us with the love and admiration you clearly have for your parents. Lucky them. Lucky you.

  6. There is no age to find a partner. Suffice to know for me that I will meet her sooner or later. Until then, I won’t care about February 14th.

  7. I’m reading through some of your archives since I enjoy your blog so thoroughly now that I’ve discovered it. I totally feel you on this – my mom was 21 and my dad was 23 when they got married and they are still happily together. I was pretty crushed when I realized that I hadn’t met the love of my life in college, and now I often get the sense that my parents are very concerned that I haven’t met a nice boy and settled down already. Since they never really had to do the dating thing (i mean jeez, they were practically infants when they got married) I’ve always felt like they mean so very well…but they just dont GET it. But still, their love is certainly something to admire, celebrate, annd hopefully someday, emulate…

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